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Common Cuckoo

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Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:33 am

Common Cuckoos are easily the most famous fratricides in the Animal Kingdom. However, they are special because they usually don’t kill their actual siblings, but rather their foster siblings.

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:34 am

Adult female Cuckoos look a lot like Sparrowhawks , small but ferocious raptors that hunt smaller birds, which comes in handy to scare other birds away from their nest.

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:36 am

While the nest is abandoned, the female Cuckoo quickly eats one of the eggs and replaces it with one of her own, then she flies away.

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:37 am

When the nest owners return, they don’t notice anything different and continue to care for their brood. But the baby Cuckoo will usually be born before the nest owner’s chicks do..

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:39 am

Still blind and featherless, it will immediately start pushing all other eggs or chicks out of the nest and into their death..

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:41 am

This murderous behavior is seemingly not conscious, but rather caused by the Cuckoo’s sensitive skin which can’t bare contact with other objects in the nest.



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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:43 am

Eventually, the foster parents, which can’t do anything to prevent the “crime”, have no choice but to start feeding the only remaining chick in the nest… the Cuckoo.

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:44 am

It seems that the baby Cuckoo’s begging calls mimic those of a nest full of chicks of whatever species the host parents are..

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:46 am

This makes the adult birds behave as if they were actually feeding many of their actual chicks, bringing plenty of food to feed the impostor, which soon grows to a monstrous size compared to its foster parents.

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Re: Common Cuckoo

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:47 am

And they keep feeding the Cuckoo until its ready to leave, and, if it’s a female, mate and continue the cycle.
If there are two Cuckoo chicks in one same nest, eventually one of them eliminates the other, but this is very rare.


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